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Raising an Effective Watchdog

  1. Raising an Effective Watchdog Conditions of Effective Anti-Corruption Agencies Gabriel Kuris Deputy Director CAPI Riga, Latvia January 23, 2015
  2. My background • Deputy Director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity (CAPI) – New anti-corruption research center in New York – Partnership between Columbia Law School and the New York City Department of Investigation - In 2012-13, researched and wrote 8 ACA case studies for Princeton University - Based on >160 interviews in Botswana, Croatia, Indonesia, Latvia, Lithuania, Mauritius, Nigeria, Slovenia, the UK, and the US. - Online at: - Previous work: legal reforms in Cambodia, Philippines, and the Solomon Islands.
  3. Defining an effective ACA Don’t expect ACA to eliminate corruption • An ACA is just one critical part of an anti-corruption system. • Uprooting a culture of corruption is a multi- generational, society-wide project. We can’t judge whether an ACA causes corruption to go up or down • We can’t yet reliably measure corruption. • Progress is slow and imperceptible. • It’s hard to pinpoint the causes of progress. Even in the “cleanest” countries, there are always corruption cases to resolve and risks to address. Hong Kong ICAC HQ. Not built overnight.
  4. ACA Established Strong Capacity Independent >Pushback!< Watchdog Subverted Defanged Disbanded Politicized Poor Capacity Weak Dead 1. Nearly all ACAs fail.  Internal scandals or mismanagement  Government interference  Politicization Effective ACAs survive
  5. 2. Performance indicators:  Strong case stats Cases cleared Arrests made Convictions achieved Government processes improved Trainings and public education  High-profile convictions and sanctions 2. Effective ACAs excel
  6. 3. Indicators of trust  High intake of complaints  High levels of polled public confidence  Professional image  Good relations with media, civil society, international partners Effective ACAs earn public trust
  7. Studies agree on common factors of effective ACAs Factors Meagher (2004) UNDP (2005) OECD (2013) De Speville (2010) Recanatini (2011) Chêne (2012) Political will/ independence       Mandate      Powers/ safeguards     Capacity       Partner institutions       Other factors mentioned Compact geography, stable economy Prevention & education efforts Special- ization Public support, endurance Clear legal framework Integrity, Special- ization Patrick Meagher, "Anti-corruption agencies: A review of experience," The IRIS Discussion Papers in Institutions and Development (2004). UNDP, Democratic Governance Practice Team, “Institutional Arrangements to Combat Corruption: a Comparative Study” (2005). OECD, Specialised Anti-Corruption Institutions: Review of Models, Second Edition (2013). Bertrand de Speville, Overcoming Corruption: The Essentials. De Speville & Associates (2010). Francesca Recanatini, “Anti-Corruption Authorities: An Effective Tool to Curb Corruption?” International Handbook on the Economics of Corruption, Vol. 2, ed. by Susan Rose-Ackerman and Tina Søreide, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011. Marie Chêne, “Centralised versus decentralised anti-corruption institutions,:” U4 (2012).
  8. Five conditions of effective ACAs Political Will & Autonomy • Continuous • Clear Mandate • Investigation • Prevention • Education • (Single or multiple agencies) Powers & Safeguards •Sufficient •Lawful •Flexible Capacity • Strong Leadership • Internal processes • Ample resources Support network • Help from other state bodies • External partners
  9. Good ACAs generate own political will • Initial trigger usually external (international pressure or domestic scandal) – Support usually shallow and short-lived. – Unrealistic early expectations lead to disappointment. • To sustain political will: – ACA must earn public support by showing professionalism, impartiality, and high-profile results. – Government must make clear no impunity, no going back.
  10. Strategic leadership matters more than set-up • ACAs evolve, adapt to survive. • Luck, events, and political winds create unanticipated challenges and opportunities. • Good ACA leaders informally reshape their own mandates and powers to find niche. • Better to have a weak ACA with a strong leader than a strong ACA with a weak leader.
  11. Mandate: guard dog or watchdog? • Guard dog – enforcement powers • Watchdog – Only investigations • Hybrid – Some sanctions • Multiple complementary agencies Watchdogs bark Guard dogs bite
  12. Guard dogs vs. watchdogs Guard Dog ACA Watchdog ACA Role Investigate, advise, arrest (possibly prosecute) Investigate, advise, draw attention Public profile High Low Evidentiary standard High Low Disclosure rules Strict Weak Investigative strengths Individual culpability Systemic problems Need for safeguards High Low Risks - Politicization or pushback - Competition with law enforcement - Irrelevance, impotence - Dependence on reliable justice system Resource needs High Low Examples Latvia KNAB, Croatia USKOK, Indonesia KPK, Hong Kong ICAC, NYC DOI Slovenia CPC, U.S. Office of Govt Ethics, Ghana CHRAJ
  13. How much power? • Powers must match mandate • Investigative powers: – Subpoena, witnesses testimony, audit, search and seizure, financial investigations, arrest, undercover operations, sting operations, telecom surveillance • Preventive powers: – Process audits, enforce recommendations, embedded investigators, coordinate policy, financial disclosures, political finance regulation
  14. More power  more safeguards • Judicial, legislative, and/or executive supervision • Codes & protocols for staff (Mauritius ICAC) • Codes & protocols for leadership (Indonesia KPK) • Independent review boards (Hong Kong ICAC) • Transparency (Indonesia KPK) Safeguards shield those who follow the rules.
  15. Importance of support network • If justice-sector partners unreliable, may need complementary specialized bodies (police, courts). • If ACA can’t juggle investigation, prevention, and education, other bodies can bridge gaps. • Media, civil society, citizens, and international partners can also provide crucial support. • Two-way partnerships create coalitions of support that sustain political will.
  16. Applications to KNAB • In international context, KNAB has historically been a rare success story. • Because ACAs evolve over time, formal structural changes may not address internal issues. • KNAB is a powerful guard dog. Could more safeguards both regulate and protect it? • What are KNAB’s weak spots, and can other bodies step in to fill those gaps?
  17. Gabriel Kuris Deputy Director Thank you!